Tekmira Pharma Soars on FDA Announcement over Ebola Drug - Analyst Blog

By Maharathi Basu,

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Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. ( TKMR ) soared over 45% to end the trading session on Aug 8 at $20.70 per share following encouraging news from the FDA on its Ebola candidate TKM-Ebola.

In Jul 2014, the U.S. regulatory body had placed Tekmira's phase I study on the Ebola candidate on clinical hold due to safety concerns. TKM-Ebola was being developed by Tekmira under a contract worth $140 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. However, pressure has been mounting on the FDA to expedite the approval of an anti Ebola drug following its deadly outbreak in Africa, which has so far claimed multiple lives and shows no signs of diminishing in the absence of an approved drug to combat the deadly virus.

The FDA responded by giving a verbal assurance to Tekmira that it is converting the full clinical hold on TKM-Ebola to a partial clinical hold. The FDA's move allows the potential use of Tekmira's candidate to treat Ebola infected patients. TKM-Ebola enjoys fast track status from the FDA.

Apart from Tekmira, privately held Mapp Biopharmaceutical and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals ( BCRX ) are also developing therapies to combat Ebola.

We believe the FDA's decision on TKM-Ebola will come as a relief to Ebola patients and doctors alike with the disease threatening to spread to other parts of the world from Africa (read our earlier coverage: Tekmira Pharma in Focus as the World Awaits Ebola Treatment ). We believe investors at Tekmira will be keenly watching how TKM-Ebola is utilized to prevent the spread of this dreaded disease.

Canada-based Tekmira carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked healthcare stocks include Actelion ( ALIOF ) and Gilead Sciences ( GILD ). Both stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Stocks: BCRX , GILD , ALIOF , TKMR

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